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I didnt' realize this, that the original story is about an Indian child. I'm familiar with Little Black Sambo in the not very pc stereotypical images.

Another related story is the practice in the early 1900's of black elocutions (sp?) where white actors/story tellers told stories in black face.


I know my parents named their first dog (a black lab) Sambo and are embarassed about it now. That was the early 1960s.


I never knew of the version with an Indian child, just the other one. The pictures are cute though, which reminds me of a class discussion in art school regarding ethics vs. aesthetics.


Wow, interesting...and what a weird, weird promotional campaign. What does it have to do with pancakes? And tigers stealing clothes and turning into butter? Double weird. Who comes up with this stuff? ;p


Wow, there's always so much interesting information here, thanks for the research and a fascinating story...indeed the story is bizarre!


I know the pictures from somewhere,but we never heard of it here in Holland for what an interesting find you did!


I remember this story from my childhood here in Norway.
You could never use it to name a restaurant today, could you :-)


Interesting story...i remember the character on the marmalade and the overly-racist connotations.

Wish you a good fast if you do xxxx


We had a Sambo's restaurant in my town growing up and I can remember my father trying to explain to me why he disapproved of the name, but I was just too young to undestand. It later became a Friendlys.


this is intriguing... so many racial stereotypes crossing one another here... the indian drawing seems very stereotyped too but at the same time the skin color is super white. hmmmm....


such cute pictures.


the illustrations are adorable!!!
but an interesting story behind it huh?
great that you still have them though....

John Witschi

I remember eating at Sambo's a number of times as a child in the 70's. I even had a book/record (when you hear the bell, turn the page) called "Little Brave Sambo" that featured a light-skinned Indian prince. It was years later that I first heard about "Little Black Sambo" and the historically derogatory stereotyping associated with the name Sambo. I noticed that the Original Sambo's is still around, they're on the web at I wonder if the franchises failed because of the contoversial name, or just another example of bad business management like Bill Knapp's, Howard Johnson's (restaurants,) etc. I'm thinking if you want a restaurant chain to thrive, well into the future, don't use an apostrophe ess, and I wouldn't recomend a name like Rastus or Jazzbo, either.

Archie Packard

too many folks are working too hard at all this. I too grew up eating a meal or so a month at Sambo's. If you can't see it, I can, Tiger Butter! You tell me now, what's the first thing you put on pancakes? Butter. So a couple of business fellows picked up on a [classic] children's story to promote their restaruant. That's all it was. But in America, our more recent history is to over react. To find mountians where there are only mole-hills.
Read these responses and we even see that Sambo was portrayed as a Indian Prince. How bad can that be? Half the American jobs have been outsourced to India. I guess Prince Sambo did all right for his people. Blah, blah, blah. I don't wish to over react here.
I stumbled onto this site while googling [Sambo]. As I sit here and watch the even news, see Obama, I have said many times in the last several months, "the boy-king". The boy who would be king. 'lil black Sambo. As of tonight, by his own word, he's probably got some Indian in him too.
Pick your ethnic. But let's fix this thing for now and forever in America. Say, "American-whatever ethnic group" stop putting the ethnic group first. Put [American] first. No more race-problems.

I always loved the story even when he was

How sad for a great story and how sad for the restaurant chain that both were victims of cultural "reforms" brought about by people who, apparently, were none to bright in the geography department. And yes, Ive seen the original illustrations, big deal. All one needed to do was ask themselves to what continent tigers are native, and the whole stinking alleged racial stereotyping angle falls apart. The story and its protagonist, a bright and resourceful local boy, happen in the land of tigers, not the land of giraffes and rhinos. Persons, places, and animals of African origin or descent need not apply for the story in question. If Sambo were here I bet HE'D be able to tell the difference.


there is still one Sambo's left- the original in Santa Barbara. also originally, they used artwork similar to the "Little Black Sambo" book. you are right, because of complaints, they changed to the little Indian boy. also, the book has been updated in a similar manner: it is now "The Story of Little Babaji".

Anyhow, i really REALLY want to thank you for this entry and uploading these pictures. i am using my postcard set for my nursery i am setting up.

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